Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

12/7/2018

Desk Jams

Filed under: Art,Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

A little background music while you work.

I could have sworn that I’d already shared this months and months ago, but, if I did, I can’t seem to find it on my blog. In any case, right now, I’m working in a mostly open office area, so I don’t play music out of respect for the other people I work with, but I generally like to have soft, ambient music playing in the background while I work. I’ve used things like Winamp and iTunes, but all too often my taste in music may not be what one considers “corporate” and can be a bit problematic. What works better is something without lyrics, but that can be looped pretty easily. Over the years, I’ve looked for things that work, but nothing I’ve found really works better than Desk Jams.
It’s all free, though I suppose there are ads on there somewhere, and any voices are strictly ambient sounds that are part of the music. It’s a little on the trance end of things, but it’s pretty good, generic music that, if played at a reasonable volume, shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.
And, again, it’s free, so you can’t get too picky!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words!

3/16/2018

SXSW 2018 Music Stars

Filed under: Art,Fun,music,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

As picked by National Public Radio.

When I was in college, a good friend of mine who happened to be a jazz musician and a dual English and History major, told me I was “tragically unhip”. Sadly, he was not wrong. I’ve spent no small amount of time since then trying to shake that reputation, mostly without success. But, along the way, I somehow managed to rub up against a little bit of cool. And, I’ve allowed myself to explore those who are the opposite of “tragically unhip”, namely indie musicians. My musical tastes were curtailed a bit when I was married the first time, but after the divorce, I started to expand my musical horizons again. Aided by the internet and a great music-blog culture, I’ve found lots of really good, enjoyable, and obscure music. Enough to impress my wife with my eclectic and voracious tastes, though maybe not enough to impress my now professional saxophone-playing friend.
In any case, I’m always on the look-out for new music and new musicians. Now that I live in Texas, I’ve got a much more heightened awareness of South By South West (aka SXSW), which is happening this week. It’s become so much more, but SXSW started as a music festival. And lots of new music still finds its start there. Since I’m old now, and too busy to actually attend SXSW this year, I just went to NPR’s SXSW 2018 coverage page and started listening to music. It’s all free to stream, and if you hit the Austin 100: A SXSW Mixtape sub-page, you can download their 100 song picks from the festival for your listening pleasure. Totally worth the small effort, I assure you. Especially if you’re looking for the “next big thing” in music.

Enjoy the tunes, and your weekend!

This post first appeared at my personal blog, Use Your Words.

2/23/2018

Free Entertainment

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Free is relative, but a lot of entertainment can be relatively free.

Regular visitors to my blog will know that I love free things. I’m also very much like an ancient Roman in that I love nothing more than laying on a couch while eating and being entertained. Yes, it’s decadent and primitive of me, but, well, there it is. The problem with all that, of course, is that if I’m being lazy, I probably can’t afford to pay for a lot of entertainment. Thankfully, the internet has solved that problem for me!
Specifically, Gizmodo’s guide to How To Find The Best Free Movies and Music On The Web will show you, and me, where to find free entertainment. They have links to the old favorites like PBS and the Internet Archive, but they have other sources that are more obscure. Or, they have suggestions that may be familiar, but not the first thing you think of as a source, like listening to music via YouTube, which I know I’ve done.

In any case, the guide is free and so are the sources they list and since you’re not working this Friday afternoon, you may want to see what they have available to amuse you.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

6/2/2017

Music for Gaming

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Ambient music with the gamer in mind.

Last week, I brought you a blog which explored the latest, and classic, MP3 music. This week, I’m bringing you a link to more music, but of a different kind.
I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone who reads my blog that I was a table-top role-playing gamer. Yes, that means Dungeons and Dragons, as well as others. Games like Traveller and Top Secret and Star Frontiers, not to mention the more obscure Gamma World and Villains and Vigilantes or Dragon Quest. (Yes, Dragon Quest was a table-top game once that had nothing to do with the more well-known video game.) Back in the day, we generally played these games in someone’s spare room or basement and, if we were lucky, there was a TV with a VHS player where we could run appropriately themed movies in the background for a little “mood music” soundtrack.
Now, though, I’d bet that pretty much everyone has a computer, of some kind, in their favorite game area. And, what with all the digital music available, means a much easier means of playing some appropriate music in the background. Which brings me to the link I have to share with you all today, Tabletop Audio, “ambiances and music for tabletop role playing games”. They pretty much have a background track for every genre and most every situation. Everything from a Wild West Saloon to a haunted House on the Hill to a Busy Space Port to the Colosseum or an Elven Glade. They also would probably make good background noise for genre writers looking to get into the right mood for their work.
And, yes, all free, though they do gently ask for free-will donations.

Come back next week to see if I even bother blogging anything at all!
And have a good weekend.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

5/26/2017

Free Music Downloads

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I know, I’m all over the place this month.

Honestly, I think it’s the essential existential crisis of suddenly not having three quarters of our credit card debt. I mean, seriously, that is a huge deal. I honestly thought I was going to be paying those off for the rest of my life. But, now, poof. Gone. And, we didn’t even have to declare bankruptcy to do it or anything. But, one of our challenges now is to stay frugal and keep paying as much as we can against the other debt. And, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I can be a cheap bastard. It’s just how I roll.
Still I do love new music. Or at least music that’s new to me. In fact, I’m told that my wife kind of admires that about me.
One way I try to keep introducing myself to new music is via music blogs, like Fluxblog. And, who Matthew Perpetua has been writing about music on Fluxblog almost every day since 2002, claims that this is the very first MP3 blog. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that he has some pretty great ideas about music and regularly offers free MP3s you can download. Right now, I’m listening to selections from his six “disc” 2016 MP3 Survey Mix. He has others, focusing on other years, but, I’m grooving on the current stuff.
Matthew says the MP3s change often and are only available for a limited time, so grab these mixes while you can!

And, enjoy your weekend. Remember, Monday is Memorial Day, when we remember the brave service members who died defending their country and our way of life. It’s not just another day off.
See you next week!

9/23/2016

More Free Music for Projects

Filed under: Fun,music,On Creativity,The Tools — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I can’t believe I didn’t include this last week.

Okay, so this may be a little boring for people who aren’t thinking about creating videos or setting their home movies to music, but, boring people with this blog has never stopped me from sharing something before, so I won’t let it now.  This free and mostly unrestricted resource requires a Google account of some kind to access, but I think it’s worth setting up a Gmail account to get to this amazing collection of audio.  It’s the free, YouTube Audio Library.  Notice, though, that I called it an audio library, not a music library.  That’s because half of this is music, much of which you can use without restriction.  But, the other half of it is a collection of relatively high-quality sound effects.  Now, I wouldn’t want to make a whole movie with this library, but, conceivably you could.  This has everything from music for every kind of emotion and scene, but also pretty much every generic sound effect you could ask for, from bullets to kids to Summer nights to pocket change hitting a wood table.
As free audio libraries go, it’s pretty complete.

Also, it’s been kind of a long week and y’all are lucky to be getting anything at all from this blog this Friday.  Maybe next week will be better.  Maybe not.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

12/12/2014

Free Indie Christmas Music

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yes, free Christmas music.

I love Christmas music of almost any kind.  And, of course, I love things that are free.  So, combining the two is my way of spreading some holiday cheer!

For many years, the music blog Stereogum shared a special Christmas mix of free, downloadable MP3s from Indie artists, some you may know and some you may not.  It was always a fun mix and almost always introduced me to new music while also giving me different Christmas music…
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5/24/2013

Rainy Coffee Shop

Filed under: Art,Fun,music,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Remember two weeks ago?  When I was talking about ambient coffee shop sounds?

Well, now someone has come out with an improvement, at least in my mind; rain.
So, really, this one is even simpler than the last one.  There’s just two buttons; one to turn on the “cafe sounds” and one to turn on the “rain”.  That’s it.  Though, I assume if you want some music, you can just go ahead and play your regular MP3 player of choice as well…
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12/14/2012

Guess Who’s Coming To Town?

Filed under: Art,Fun,music,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, not Santa.

Well, I suppose Santa is coming to town, soon enough, but I’m talking about something else entirely.
No, I’m talking about your favorite bands.  This past weekend, my girl and I went to see one of her favorite musical acts, who were playing at a real, Texas dance all over in Winnie, about an hour outside of Houston.  But, we only knew about it because one of her friends had been lucky enough to catch an announcement about them coming.  What if he hadn’t?  These guys are pretty old now and, frankly, there’s no telling when, or if , they’d ever come to our area again.  If we hadn’t gotten lucky like that, we might never have seen them!

Now, though, there’s another option; Songkick.  This app, for either iOS or Android, will scan your music collection on that device, or check your Last.FM song list, and tell you when those artists are coming to your area.  It will also tell you who else will be playing with them and serve you up a map of where the venue is.  And, on top of all that, the app will let you add the concert to your calendar to remind you to buy tickets.
Frankly, I think this is a genius idea and I wish there was an app like it that would do the same for your favorite authors!

So, what the heck, it’s Friday and if you’re reading this, you’re not working any more so you might as well go download the app for your phone and see who’s playing near you or coming soon.
And, have a great weekend!

12/7/2012

Writing Music

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Some music to create the Great American Novel by.

Or, you know, whatever it is you need to write.
Back in October, I brought you a link to soundtracks for your books, but this week, it’s music that will hopefully inspire your writing.  I know a lot of people who write to music, whether that’s PHP code, or fiction, or even blog entries.  And, of course, there are as many opinions about not only whether to listen to music or not, but what kind of music to listen to, as there are writers.  When I was writing more than I do now, I have to admit, I always had something on in the background, whether it was music or television or something else, just to keep part of my mind busy while I wrote.  And, when I got stuck, changing the music, or other background noise, often is what got me “un-stuck”.
So, whether you’re stuck or not, why not check out this article at NeuroTribes titled “Music to Write By” and see what ten very different writers have to say on the subject.  Who knows?  You may pick up some new tunes to help you the next time you get writer’s block!

Besides, you know if you’re reading my blog, you aren’t working any more this week anyway, so you may as well check it out.
Have a great weekend, y’all!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."
   --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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